Just so you know, I think you may have misunderstood my suggestions, so if you don't mind, I will re-word them. There was a concern brought up that in some states, if you miss a mediation appointment you can be fined, so I wanted to look up the laws in your state about mediation and divorce, and gather all the facts.
What I discovered is that once divorce is filed, and before it is finalized, the court will almost always order some kind of attempt at reconciliation-mediation or marriage counseling. These court orders are usually/often for 60 days, and if you were to ask for both of those options that's a minimum of 120 days (or 4 months) right there! Thus, your fear that this divorce was being hurried and would be over in 2 weeks can be soothed.
PLUS I see that neither of you has even filed yet! So this mediation is not court-ordered (which would look bad if you didn't go), but rather is all voluntary!! Thus, my suggestion to you is to stall/delay legal action as long as possible. If you were to go to the voluntary mediation and "reach agreements" with her on how to divide the assets, how to divide the debts, how much to pay for alimony or child support...then she could file a Joint Divorce and it would indeed go much faster.
Soooo...since all of this is voluntary, I suggest telling the mediator that you are no longer interesting in reaching agreements about how to end the marriage and that the dispute you want to resolve is how to save the marriage. If they don't want to mediate that dispute, then I would be VERY polite and say, "Thank you--I will find a mediator with whom I'm comfortable to resolved that conflict. Bye!"
The reason I suggest that is that you do NOT have to go to that mediation! That is your wife's attempt to say, "Hey can we have a nice, friendly divorce and you just agree to pay me to carry on the affair? Please?" You don't have to be a jerk--just say no. "Sorry sweetheart I'm not interested in agreeing how to split things for a divorce so I won't be cooperating in divorce behavior. I'm interested in negotiating how to repair the marriage, and I'll put my efforts into that."
So in order here's what I suggest:
1) Begin immediately
with the 7 Steps to Ending an Affair
. We can review together which step you are on right now--I think you have evidence, may be on one of the C-D-E steps, and could possibly be up to Carrot & Stick.
2) Voluntary Mediation
--Don't necessarily let her control or guilt you into willingly agreeing on "how to separate and divorce." I don't mean be a jerk, but these meetings are of your own volition--thus you don't need to go at all if you don't want to! If you do, I wouldn't agree to paying her anything, and I'd keep voluntary mediation to discussing how to save the marriage or nothing. In other words, this is not a requirement and you are not compelled to do this, so either use it to save the marriage or don't do it.
3) If papers are filed
--First I'd say if you don't want the divorce, don't file for divorce. If she wants it, she has to file! If she doesn't file, you don't have to do anything, legally. If she does file papers, you have a certain timeframe (usually 30 days) in which to respond, and I'd suggest waiting for as much of the timeframe as possible before you respond (like 28 days) and then counter-claiming with the grounds of adultery and finding a lawyer who is very pro-marriage. Then you can do many tactics to stall such as claiming adultery. That delays because if you claim that you then have a timeframe to submit some evidence to support your claim (usually 30 MORE days)... and so on! You can ask for Legal Separation instead of divorce. You can ask that the court order reconciliation mediation ... then ask for court-ordered marriage counseling. So you could delay a divorce for a long, long time, even sometimes just by asking for an extension by the court or by rescheduling!
So to recap--no I don't think you should take any legal steps if she hasn't! But if she does, even then don't panic because there are tactics to delay until the affair ends.
Now to reply directly to some of what you said:
Affaircare I appreciate the research you put in on my behalf. It was very insightful and gave me a lot to think about. I think the mediator is ok but you bring up a good point the mediator knows we are at opposite ends of the table with me not wanting a divorce and my wife wanting out. I guess I feel that she started mediating the split and dove right into the nuts and bolts with finances and debts etc. She didn’t really address the issues at hand with one wanting out and the other not. I am angry at her for this and feel that she has sided with divorce. I am going to challenge her on this big time. She needs to mediate this before anything else.
It concerns me that you say you are going to challenge her (the mediator). Usually the word "challenge" has a connotation of being a little confrontational and defiant. I would encourage you to have an attitude that is calm, consistent and confident (not evasive), but not demanding or provoking or instigating. Overall, you want to have some flexibility and open mindedness, but have a clear definition of what you will and will not accept--a clear definition of your boundaries. Then, very politely, stand by and enforce them. By "boundaries" do not mean what you will and will not let your wife do, but rather it is a fence around YOU: what you will and will not accept in your life and around you. So a good example would be: "I am not interested in mediating about how to split possessions as I don't agree with doing that at this time. Since this is voluntary, what I am interested in mediating is how to save the marriage. I would like her to end her affair and put that energy into returning the love to our commitment."
I am also not happy with the amount of money I have to pay the wife. I feel I owe her 400 a month to much. I don’t think she heard me or my points. So I am really going to lay the law down on her about these two issues. Part of the reason I feel I am paying to much is basically because I want my wife’s budget to get really tight. I am good with numbers and budgets and will come armed to argue my point next time. I will get my way I am persuasive and have argued way bigger deals in my day so I am not worried about that.
Ah--three things catch my eye there. You "Have To" pay your wife huh? Who's making you? Not the courts. Not the police. No laws. Not the mediator? Sooooo...what exactly is compelling you to pay your wife anything? The reason I ask is not to be mean, but the way I see it, your wife is basically asking you to agree to pay her to carry on the affair! That seems...unbelievable! It seems reasonable to me that if you made a commitment to a loan, that you continue to pay that loan or bill as long as that item is not being used to continue the affair! For example...she's staying at home, she has the OM at the house, but your name is on the mortgage and deed...I say move back home. Period. What's she going to do, stop you? It's your house too! If your name isn't on the mortgage or deed...don't pay that bill because she's using the house to further the affair. Cell phone on your plan and she's using it to call the OM? Drop her cell off your plan. Get the idea? I don't see ANYTHING that is forcing you to pay your wife ANYTHING!! She vowed to dedicate all of her affection and loyalty only for you, and she is the one who is breaking the commitment. So if she wants to break the agreement between you two, she has to fund her own way to do so. This is not done in a vindictive way but rather in a calm, firm, confident enforcement of boundaries: "I will not finance any part of my spouse's adultery."
Next, I see you saying you're going to force the mediator again. See where you said: "...I am really going to lay the law down" and "...I will get my way"? Those kinds of statements are controlling and demanding and at a time like this, being confrontational and manipulative is not going to advance your case. Be consistent and firm instead. "No I will not volunteer to fund adultery--she'll need to pay for that." "She decided to break contract between us, and she'll need to decide how to pay for her choices now."
Affair care I have thought a lot about the legal issues you have brought up. First off no one has filed or even really talked about it at this point. I could go the legal direction that you described to buy time but I hope it does not come to this. Basically I think it makes me look like an A hole and feel that it will push my already stubborn wife further away. Don’t you...Don’t you think it will be obvious to everyone what I am doing and make it worst. This is the point where I can see things getting really ugly. She will push a way harder and quicker.
Yeah see up above. I wasn't suggesting you do those things NOW...but rather, even if she does file at some point in the future, you still have plenty of options to stall. I would do none of those things now.
I have been so fixed on this affair as being the problem. If that were over I have been thinking that would be the end all. The wife would come home we work on things and life would be grand. I have to at this point consider that is only a small part of the problem. I have to come to the relation and deal with the fact the wife wants out of being married for her own reason. Some reasons I will never understand. She has things she wants to do and experience in life with out being married. I have to deal with this and I just haven’t been.
I somewhat disagree with ya here, Jar. You are beginning to second guess yourself because you're starting to fall for/believe the disloyal dizziness. You see, your disloyal spouse will say and do anything to continue her addiction (namely the affair). She also does not want to accept any of the blame or take any personal responsibility for the affair. So, in order to deflect blame from herself to others, your wife will say things like "I haven't been happy for a long time" or "I don't love you like a wife should" or "This has nothing to do with the OM--I just don't love you anymore." I have to tell you, Jar, all disloyal spouses say things like this and I'd say about 90% of them don't really mean it. That's not to say they are deliberately lying but rather they that they are re-inventing the past and magnifying the negative whilst simultaneously looking at the OM and magnifying the positive. Thus a LOT of what she says right now really is not going to be logical, or make any sense. If you see that, just say to yourself, "Oh that's the disloyal dizziness that AC told me about." It is talk that just makes NO SENSE and doesn't seem to fit with the facts--okay?
My therapists and I talked a lot today and she really helped me realize a few things. My issue is I don’t want this to happen at all costs and I am not dealing with certain emotions. She also explained things are happening really fast at this point and I am being made to feel like I have to do certain things that I don’t want to like get a divorce and sine on a dotted line. Heres the thing I am a supper defiant person. If I am being told what to do and I really don’t want to do it this is where I can become a real s&%* head. I go into shut down mode. When this happens I can get ruthless. I get angry and vindictive this is where I would just become a real pain in the butt. The wife would end up having even more ill will towards me and never want to come back to a person like this. I was already in this mode today. A friend had to talk me off the walls. I was ready for a battle. I don’t want to be a monster or be remembered by the wife as a person like this.
I have no doubt whatsoever this is one of the Love Extinguishers that put on the flame of love in your wife's heart. This will be the #1 thing you work on in Plan A--Carrot & Stick.
How about I just come to the mediation session and explain to her this is sudden and fast for me and I feel like it is out of control. Explain that I need to slow things way down and just ask her can we just separate for 5 months or so and that is it. Explain there is a lot of emotion driving our decision so it would give us a chance to calm before we go any further. But mostly explain that I need her to give me this separation time so that I can grieve and let her go and be ok about this. Explain to her that if she doesn’t give me this time that it will get ugly. Not because I want it to but because this is how I get when I am being forced to do something I don’t want to do. How about I explain to her that emotionally and mentally I can’t do this at this time because I am not at a place to let her go yet. Tell her this separation is all about my needs at this point and I need her to do this for me.
NOTE TO SELF, Jar. Your wife is in selfish-mode. She does not give a rip if you can or can not "deal with it" right now. So going this route--appealing to her heart-strings--will not mean anything to her right now. She'll probably respond with resentment at best. I do think that going to mediation and saying "This is going too fast and I request a 5 month separation, during which time I will pay for my apartment, car, and personal bills and she will pay for the house, her car and her own personal bills" would be fine. The end. Anything beyond that she's about 99% likely to say "So? Our whole marriage was about your needs and now it's about time I thought of MY needs!"